Recently, the U.S. Department of Education issued a reminder that TEACH Grants are available to those who are interested in pursuing a career in education.
The TEACH Grant Program, which was created approximately 15 years ago, provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. A TEACH Grant-eligible program is a program of study that is designed to prepare you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field and that leads to a bachelor’s or master’s degree or is a post-baccalaureate program. A two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree is considered a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree.
In light of a District Court’s ruling in early November that President Biden overstepped his authority in creating a student debt relief program without congressional approval, the Administration recently announced that it would extend the repayment pause on federal student loans potentially through June 30, 2023 (the exact timing depends on any court rulings). The Biden Administration argued that this will allow the Supreme Court time to provide clarity to borrowers.
With the 2022 election results continuing to trickle in, we are learning who will serve as the states’ chief executive officer next year.
On November 8, Americans in 36 states cast ballots to elect their state governor, with approximately a quarter of them winning their first term. As the Education Commission of the States noted, “Governors play an important role in shaping education policy in states through their power to appoint members of their state boards of education, department of education heads and other key roles. Governors also use their authority and budget proposals to advocate for specific education policies and funding.”
The Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter to states and local educational agencies (LEAs) to remind them that they can continue to respond to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by using funds Congress appropriated in response to the pandemic to, among other things, expand opportunities for high-quality work-based learning, often referred to as “apprenticeships.”
A U.S. District in Texas ruled on November 10 that President Biden overstepped his authority in creating a student debt relief program without congressional approval, preventing the Administration from providing relief to federal borrowers. A federal appeals court expanded the ruling on November 14 saying, the pause “will remain in effect until further order of this court or the Supreme Court of the United States.”
AACTE recently sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to cosponsor the EDUCATORS for America Act (S 3360/HR 6205), which would invest in and revitalize federal educator preparation programs. These programs are critical to addressing the shortage of profession-ready, fully licensed teachers in our nation’s classrooms. The letter was cosigned by 41 other education groups.
The Department of Education recently announced permanent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make it easier for borrowers to see their federal student loans forgiven under the program. Many of these changes were announced earlier this year on a temporary basis; they will take effect in July 2023.
Voters will cast their votes on November 8 for scores of local, state, and federal elections. The election results will likely be felt for years, including in our nation’s classrooms. The results could impact curriculum, civil rights for underrepresented students, educator preparation, and other related issues.
While election experts predict modest changes in the composition of Congress, even the slightest of changes can have significant effect on our students and educators.
What does all this mean for AACTE, its members, and the students they work with?
Join me for a discussion on Wednesday, November 9 about the challenges and opportunities we expect over the next two years, including the following:
Earlier this year, President Biden announced plans to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for individual borrowers who make under $125,000 per year, an action that could benefit more than 40 million Americans. The application to receive debt forgiveness formally opened on October 17 and it is estimated to take about five minutes to complete.
A federal district court recently ruled against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, saying that President Obama overstepped his authority to create the program in 2012.
The ruling legally strips Dreamers of their ability to live and work in the United States, but the appellate judges prohibited immigration officials from deporting anyone that was granted legal status until the US Supreme Court makes a final ruling on the program.
At the start of the pandemic, the federal government paused the repayment requirements for most federal student loans. More recently, the Administration announced that it would forgive a certain amount of student debt to eligible borrowers. Both announcements were meant to help borrowers through economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and regain their financial footing after seeing student debt balloon to over $1.6 trillion. These are unique opportunities that could see thousands of dollars eliminated from your balance. But time is running out.
In September, Congress passed legislation that permits both borrowers of a joint student loan to apply to the Education Department to have their joint loan split up into two separate loans. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Previously, married couples were able to combine their student loan debt into joint consolidation loans, which would make them both liable for repayment of the loan. Congress eliminated the joint consolidation program effective July 1, 2006, but it did not provide a means of severing existing loans, even in the event of domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive partner.
This year, Election Day is November 8 — a little over a month away. In addition to all members of the House of Representatives, 35 U.S. senators, 36 governorships, and scores of state and local officials are up for election. There may also be ballot measures that are important to you and/or your work.
AACTE strongly urges you to exercise your right to vote and cast your ballot in November.
Apply by Oct. 31
One of the barriers to a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce is the high cost of college and student loan debt. Research has found that higher debt burdens are associated with students avoiding public service jobs, particularly in the education field.
To encourage highly qualified individuals to become teachers or serve in other public sector jobs, the federal government created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in 2007, which eliminates any remaining federal student loan debt for those individuals that make 120 qualified payments while working for a qualified non-profit employer.
A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have introduced the Civics Secures Democracy Act, which would authorize an historic investment to support K–12 civic education and American history. AACTE urges members to reach out to their Members of Congress to encourage them to support the Civics Secures Democracy Act through the Action Alert in the AACTE Advocacy Center.
Over the last several decades, civics education in American schools has seen a significant decline. Given the divisiveness in our politics and the lack of knowledge and understanding of democratic principles, norms, and institutions, a robust investment in civics education is needed.